Hallandale Beach Blog - A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida and Europe, especially the UK and Sweden.
In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura. Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Photo in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A, September 2008; March 2018 photo below of North Beach, looking left-to-right, looking north, HYDE Condominium, Etaru Japanese Robatayaki restaurant, and Hollywood Beach in the distance, with umbrellas. All photos by me, © Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Nordstrom's of Aventura Opening Friday, Feb. 15th

While double-checking some info about an emerging story in Aventura, I got word about when the Nordstrom's at Aventura Mall was finally going to be opening: February 15th at 10 a.m.
I later confirmed the info with company officials, who are psyched to see how this store performs in the local market.

While getting some info, I noticed on their new website -with clever graphics- the following news which may be of interest to some of you: http://shop.nordstrom.com/C/6010927/0~2377475~6010926~6010927?cm_ven=google&cm_cat=keyword&cm_pla=store_openings_aventura&cm_ite=aventura some



Be among the first to help us celebrate the opening of our new Nordstrom at Aventura Mall during an elegant evening devoted to all things fashionable. Enjoy dinner and dessert buffets, live entertainment, runway fashion shows, and, of course, incredible shopping. Cocktail attire requested.
Tickets are $125 and are available online at www.thebuonicontifund.com/Nordstrom.xml.

All proceeds will benefit the signature projects of the Junior League of Miami, The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis/The Miami Project at the University of Miami and the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.
To RSVP or for special accommodations information, call 305.243.8100. Tickets are limited.
We look forward to spending this special evening with you.


Contact info available at:

Junior League of Miami, 713 Biltmore Way, Coral Gables, FL 33134, (305) 443-0160,

Fax: (305) 443-3849 http://www.jlmiami.org/

UM/Sylvester, University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, 1475 N.W. 12th Avenue, Miami, FL 33136 (305) 243-1000, (800) 545-2292 http://www.sylvester.org/

The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, 1-888-STANDUP http://www.themiamiproject.org/

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Illusion of safety in HB is not the same thing as real safety!

My comments are below the story.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Security cameras may be required at late-night businesses in Hallandale
By Thomas Monnay
January 10, 2008

Late-night establishments soon may be required to have surveillance cameras both inside and outside to help deter and solve crimes.

The proposal, discussed by city commissioners on Wednesday, would affect 24-hour businesses and those with permits to operate after 2 a.m. It is scheduled for a formal public hearing on Jan. 22.

Vice Mayor Bill Julian said cameras could have helped police determine who shot and killed Broward Sheriff's Office Sgt. Chris Reyka in August in the parking lot of a 24-hour Walgreens in Pompano Beach.

"If there were cameras outside the Walgreens, wouldn't they catch the picture of the person who killed the deputy?" Julian said.

"We have the technology. We should use it to give an edge to police."

Mayor Joy Cooper called security cameras "a strong tool" against crime. Commissioners Dorothy Ross and Fran Schiller also support the proposal.

But Commissioner Keith London was opposed, saying businesses could hire security guards and the city has police to protect residents. "I am almost never for cameras," he said.

"If I have to surrender my freedom for safety, then I don't believe in being safe."

Julian said most of the city's gas stations, convenience stores and the city's two racetracks already have cameras. City Manager Mike Good said police would work with business owners to determine whether they need cameras. He said those with financial hardship would be allowed to file an appeal, and the city might help them financially.

"I happen to support this very much," Good said.

The proposal coincides with the city's plan for a $374,371 digital camera system to monitor its municipal complex, fire station, water plant, beach parking garage and park and recreation facilities.

Thomas Monnay can be reached at tmonnay@sun-sentinel.com or 954-385-7924.
Copyright © 2008, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
To view reader comments on this story, see

Generally speaking, I wouldn't comment here on my blog about what someone else has written on one of these Sun-Sentinel reader comment forums, or any media forum for that matter.
The reason is a simple one.

My experience in looking at reader's comments on newspaper sites is that, more often than not, they're either incredibly inspid, off-topic or mean-spirited snarky just for the sake of being mean-spirited and snarky. (As opposed to informative yet humorously snarky!)
In short, seldom enlightening.

While perhaps amusing when recounting the exact context in a car with your friends, otherwise just like a case of hitting low-hanging fruit with an ICBM, otherwise, and therefore just a waste of time.

More the sort of thing some mean-spirited office drone does on his computer while on a lunch-break, killing time in between bites of a sandwich, so very pleased with himself and the pseudonym he's chosen.

But I did want to specifically bring to your attention comment #12, written by someone who seems to be a William Julian supporter, to help illustrate the small minds a person of his particular qualifications needs to get re-elected in a city the size of a postage stamp.

A city which many informed people think would be much better off having someone else in that seat, someone who doesn't suffer such comic bouts of grandeur, witness last year's illegal pay raise grab in the dark that he led, wherein he famously compared himself to a corporate executive.
Or, if you prefer, his continued bad judgment by forcing himself into murky ethical situations that reasonably bright high school-age kids with common sense could've resolved.

Not that Julian's the only one on the city commission who's like a dead battery, once useful but now merely ballast.

One of the truest of all cliches in sports is "addition by subtraction."
Used in this context, Hallandale Beach Blog believes the people of Hallandale Beach, and the city's future as a whole, would greatly benefit from William Julian's exit from the city


Let him get that executive job he feels is currently being denied him.

Here's the comment exactly as it appears on the Sun-Sentinel's website, as of today at 1p.m.:
Golden Isles Resident AOL
Thursday Jan 10
Thank you Commissioner Bill Julian for taking the lead in protecting you city's residents. What does Commissioner London fear? Maybe something the voters should know about? The truth will come out. We are watching you K.L.

Frankly, it's exactly the kind of feeble and shrill spewing of venom that you'd expect from a
Julian supporter, given the ones I've spoken to over the years.

While sometimes semi-pleasant, they fundamentally mistake his length of time in town as effectiveness.
One clearly has nothing to do with the other.

As it happens, that low opinion is very much what TV and print reporters who've covered the city have told me they think of when they think of Julian, to the extent that they think of him at all -which is rarely.

The Sun-Sentinel reader comment then is a snapshot in time of the kind of person who's currently supportive of a William Julian, yet to my mind, the sort of people who clearly are part of the problem, not part of the solution.
My thoughts on the story itself:

I don't know how I can make this any clearer -the illusion of safety is not the same thing as actual safety.

Once again, almost too predictably for words, the powers-that-be in the City of Hallandale Beach have reached for the safety blanket of illusion, rather than opening their eyes and taking a serious look at the manifest safety problems in the city.
And doing something serious about it.

THAT is something which has greatly troubled me since I returned to the area from the
Washington, D.C. area, and is one of the principal reasons that I started this particular blog in the first place.
It's a large part of what keeps me motivated to continue doing it.

The city's longstanding and almost cowardly refusal to confront what's directly in front of it, like a person afraid of their own image in a mirror, because it doesn't match the illusion they've created in their mind, is the worst possible kind of governance, given the changing dynamics and demographics of the city now.

A great example of this is the scarecrow police squad car left at the beach near the perfectly dreadful Beachside Cafe, a William Julian hangout.

No police are EVER actually over there, which the city-contracted lifeguards are the first to point out to you, if you merely ask them.
Or the frequent bach goers that I've come to recognize from my hundreds of trips over there on weekends, to read the papers, listen to ballgames and write down some thoughts.

It's worse than an ostrich with its head in the sand -it's an ostrich which has done that same move by rote so often that it can't physically get its head out of the sand.

That's the City of Hallandale Beach today.

Public safety is a matter which should rightly concern anyone living in the city -or near it, like Hollywood or Aventura- who has two eyes that work, and who can clearly see what the city looks like for themself.

Anyone who knows me or who has made any kind of serious effort to read more than a handful of my posts here, knows exactly what I consider to be the leading bête noires in any public safety discussion of the City of Hallandale Beach.

Ones which are both longstanding and entirely self-evident on any night, especially on U.S.-1, A1A or Hallandale Beach Blvd., yet which are paradoxically among the easiest to actually resolve.

These include but are not limited to:
1.) The very poorly maintained condition of streetlights and illuminated street signs.
This includes, among others, those right next to HB's own City Hall and Police Dept. HQ, which have been out for well over two years!

For over two years, Mayor Joy Cooper, the four members of the HB City Commission and City Manager Mike Good -and his staff- have driven right past those signs every time they leave City Hall chambers following an evening meeting.

But still they never see what's right in front of them, less than a bloc away from their own office.

2.) the universally piss-poor condition of public parking lots along Hallandale Beach Blvd. in the city NOT owned by R.K.

To cite but the most obvious examples from a long list:

a.) the front sidewalk entrance lights and parking lot lights of the Premier Building, which has a gym that lots of people attend at night.

(It's also a building where everyone loves to park in the No Parking Fire Lane in front and the 15 Minute Parking Zones set aside for deliveries, too.)

These are the same geniuses who after Hurricane Wilma knocked out and broke their plastic identification sign in front of their property, placed the remaining parts of it and all the many downed palm fronds, on the sidewalk in front of an adjoining bus shelter, rather than disposing of them properly.

Somehow, yet again, HB's Code Compliance office was blind to this though it could hardly have been more obvious, since they were there for months.

(This is not unlike the way the city's Code Compliance turned a blind eye last year to the William Julian campaign sign and wooden support stand that stayed up for so long on north-bound U.S.-1, alongside the east-side sidewalk near the bus shelter on S.E. 9th Street.

If I can find it, I have a photo of that sign and support a number of weeks after the election, which I'll post here in the future for illumination.
Perhaps I should see if it's still there!)

Later, someone from the building placed the large jagged plastic pieces behind sidewalk shrubs, thinking that, somehow, they'd magically take care of themself.
They didn't!

Just how bad is the street lighting situation along that street, the busiest in the city?

Well, consider that a few months ago, having made some mental notes about it after months of noticing it on my walks to and from the beach, I took some photos of the area near the Hallandale Beach Chamber of Commerce.

As I write this, the two street lights closest to it have been out for well over 6-8 months, if not longer.

If not for the bank across the street having parking lot lights, it'd be a black hole.

Even the small auxiliary building lights on the CoC bldg., next to their front door, as well as some of the adjoining offices, were out for months at a time.

*I'll leave 'till another time the larger discussion I've had for months in my head -and with lots of concerned Hallandale Beach citizens- on the perfectly preposterous reality that there are currently no directional signs of any kind on U.S.-1, A1A or even on their 0wn street, Hallandale Beach Blvd., directing visitors/residents to the Chamber of Commerce, as would be common sense and practice in even the smallest of hick towns, much less, in a smart and tourist-oriented town like Charlottesville, VA.

That's a wonderful city I've been to numerous times, because of all the great historical sites there, as well as UVA, and the annual Virginia Film Festival.

Regardless of how you get there, it's virtually impossible to miss the plethora of signs directing you to their Chamber of Commerce/Tourist Office, where people are super-friendly, engaging and accommodating, and have updated information to dispense.

Encore performance?
It's possible that for the first time since early 2004, when I took a microphone in hand at the HB City Hall chambers and spent about 5-10 minutes absolutely ripping FDOT, their contractors, the mayor, the city manager, the city commission and the city as a whole, for utterly failing to give HB's citizens anything like what they were entitled to -and had already paid for- regarding the U.S.-1 road construction project, that I'll be taking a microphone in hand at meeting tonight to point out the obvious about the cameras.

It wouldn't be necessary, though, if the HB city employees we're already paying were doing their job better, which includes the HB Police Department and their camera-loving police chief.

The evidence that they're doing a poor job is all around the city, especially alongside the main roads and at over the public beach.

At that 2004 meeting, I criticized everyone on the dais and in the front rows of the chamber for the self-congratulatory nature of the public meeting, rather than seriously addressing the numerous self-evident shortcomings and failures of the project, many of which could be seen just steps away from city hall, as I said at the time.

Even on the night of that public meeting, there were still lots of streets in the city with large volumes of gravel and rocks on streets that were supposedly finished, including right in front of city hall itself, on the street between it and the U.S. Post Office, S.E. 5th Street.

A street that was missing a STOP sign as it hits U.S.-1!!!

And let's not forget all the missing bicycle lane signs and the painted "Bike Lane" in the lanes themself, and the...

Next time you're at the Hallandale Beach City Hall complex at night, look up at the parking lot light closest to the security camera, pointing northeast towards U.S.-1.

The one that's been out for weeks!!!

The security camera that doesn't have a posted sign nearby, as required by law?

Yes, that one, just like the signage situation at the Publix on HBB, which I've spoken to their manager about many times.

(We'll soon see how Publix HQ in Lakeland feels about the apathy in following the law.)

Those camera were put in right before their liquor store opened for obvious reasons.
Less obvious is why RK and Publix can't or won''t comply with the law
Signs must be posted.
It's not optional.

How long have the cameras at HB City Hall been up without the required posted warning signs?

Why don't you ask the city manager, Mike Good, next time you see him, since he's in favor of expanding the concept.

Should someone who can't manage their own affairs really being telling others what to do?

I think not.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Hallandale Beach Blog Time Machine: August 2006

What follows is a copy of an email that was sent to a handful of local print and TV reporters of my acquaintance, all of whom were more than familiar with some of my concerns about public safety in Hallandale Beach, as well as its governance, and who shared my concerns.
I sent this to them following my being an involuntary eyewitness to an egregious example of the kind of incompetent bungling that's an everyday occurrence here in Hallandale Beach.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Subject: Oh, not again... Another case study of Hallandale Beach ineptitude ? Oui!

Dear X:

What: three-car accident
Time: Today, about 4:10 p.m.
Place: South Federal Hwy. & S.E. 5th Street intersection, directly in front of the Hallandale Beach Municipal Complex

Context: I'm on my way over to the Bank of America branch on Hallandale Beach Boulevard (HBB), but see what's happened, and ask the three people leaning against their cars if any one's been hurt.

They say no but it's been 5 minutes and no cops yet.
I walk into the Hallandale Beach Police Dept. lobby and tell the officer behind the security glass
what's happened, number of cars involved, etc.
Response: "We'll call dispatch."

Knowing from experience how chronically unreliable and incompetent the city employees are here, I blow-off going to BoA, and instead use this an an opportunity to head into the adjoining City Hall complex and try to solve a problem that' also on my "To Do" list.

There, I spend about ten minutes trying to get straight answers out of an information employee about some longstanding problems, specifically, the DPW NOT being able to reliably furnish
the appropriate supplies in the restrooms over at North Beach by Friday afternoons, esp. prior to three-day holiday weekends, when the beach will be tremendously crowded.

It's sort of a problem when by Saturday morning, there is NO toilet paper or paper towels for the hundreds of patrons who'll use the facilities, and, oh, by the way, most of the faucets don't work, either.

Question: Chicken or the egg: No towels because most of the water faucets don't work?
In any case, I know if I don't say anything, nobody from the city is going to come by to resolve the problem.

The information employee is well-meaning, but can't answer even basic questions, much less, tell me which particular DPW employees can help resolve the problem over at the beach.
It's like pulling teeth!

I walk back out into the east-side of the muni parking lot and it's like time has stood still.

There are still no HB cops out there, even though it's now been about 10-15 minutes, and one of the cars is blocking southbound traffic in the extreme left lane, and traffic is, well, expanding by leaps and bounds. Just in time for rush hour!

Lots of honking and sounds of screeching brakes.

Another day on U.S.-1.

I'm tempted to borrow the large orange cone near the Post Office parking lot shrubs, and place it on U.S.-1 myself, behind the cars affected.
But I don't.

Instead, I walk back into the Police Dept. and ask what's going on, since, as I repeat to the officer, "it's right in front of your own building."
Response: "We'll call dispatch."

I leave shaking my head and wondering why I expect anything different, given the lackluster leadership of the city's elected officials, and the general sense of malaise mixed-in with a culture of See/Hear/Speak no-evil amongst the city employees. http://searchwarp.com/swa2800.htm

Around 6: 40 p.m. tonight, I swung by the Hallandale Beach branch of the Broward County library to return some books and noticed that while the cars involved in the original accident have been moved, there's still plenty of broken glass and plastic in the intersection, apparently waiting for the cover of darkness to make someone else an innocent victim, since that busy
intersection is pitch black at night due in large part to the geniuses over at City Hall.

[Hallandale Beach Blog note: this foreshadows the outrageous situation in 2007, where from mid-January thru late September, 85% of all the street lights on U.S.-1 between HBB and the Aventura-HB city line are out, making it a virtual black hole.
Yes, including right in front of the HB City Hall and HB Police Dept.

That included Election Day, a point that I mentioned to several of the poll workers, who were quite interested in knowing more about this blog.
And the number of street lights out within one block of the city's busiest intersection, U.S.-1 and HBB?
A frightening number that exceeds 90%.]

Not to belabor the obvious, but in thinking about all the ways that I might help advance the larger public safety interest for other HB residents and gain some degree of public accountability from the responsible(?) officials, there's always the age-old question a citizen must ask them self:
Do I use a scalpel, or do I go 'old school' and use the 36'' Louisville Slugger to get their attention?

Up 'till now, I've decided to go the magnanimous route and use the scalpel, telling them about the self-evident problems first, hoping they'll take the suggestion or constructive criticism and resolve the actual problem.

But after witnessing yet another egregious example today of their gross incompetency, laid out in such a matter-of-fact way for everyone to see -and draw their own conclusions- including people from Aventura and Hollywood, well, I can't help but wonder if I should abandon the 'nice guy routine' and simply start that blog I've spoken to you about, and make that my baseball bat.
No more free consults, capisce?

Please let me know what you think, and if you have any good suggestions or targets that I should consider putting under the microscope, send 'em toute-de-suite to yours truly.

C'est la guerre!


Monday, January 14, 2008

Gov. Charlie Crist in Hollywood, supporting Amendment One


South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com
In Hollywood, Crist pushes tax cut; critics protest
School officials and firefighters, however, among proposal's critics

By Scott Wyman and John Holland
January 8, 2008

Supporters of the tax proposal on this month's ballot clashed with police officers, firefighters and educators Monday over whether the measure would bring meaningful property tax relief or deeply hurt public services.

Schools as well as police and fire protection would be hurt if voters order tax cuts, according to the government officials who addressed a crowd of about 100 gathered for a forum on the ballot initiative at Hallandale High School on Monday night.

Earlier in the day, Gov. Charlie Crist and dozens of real-estate agents descended on a west Hollywood neighborhood in a carefully scripted rally backing the amendment.

"This may not go as far as some would like, and it does more than others want, but if you want your property taxes cut, then vote yes on Amendment One," Crist told the gathering, made up almost exclusively of supporters bussed in for the event.
"It is that simple."

But Broward County schools Superintendent Jim Notter said the initiative could cost 1,200 jobs.

And Plantation Police Chief Larry Massey, who heads the Broward County police chiefs association, said fewer officers are now on the street because of an initial round of tax cuts that the Legislature required last fall.

He warned the proposal on the Jan. 29 ballot would reduce protection further.

"This is not the time to take police officers off the street," Massey said during the forum sponsored by the Broward League of Cities.

The proposed constitutional amendment doubles the homestead exemption on all but school taxes and allows people to take their tax breaks with them when they move.

The increase in the homestead exemption would save the average Broward homeowner an estimated $308.

State economists estimate that governments in Broward would lose $1.4 billion in revenue over the next five years if the tax proposal passes.

Schools would lose $144 million, with the county, cities and special service districts shouldering the rest of the burden.

Government officials say public safety will have to be cut because police and fire service often comprise half of city budgets.

And while the increase in homestead exemption would not affect the school system, projections are that it will lose revenue because of portability.

"Don't necessarily do the popular thing, do the responsible thing," said John McNamara, a Sunrise firefighter who spoke for the area's firefighters association.

Notter said the school district favors tax reform, but that the state should do it in a way that does not harm education.

He said the school district's costs have increased because of health insurance, property insurance and fuel prices.

"Amendment One does not meet the basic, fundamental test of reasonable, responsible tax reform," he said.

Advocates of the tax package said that while it is not perfect, it is a start.

Property Appraiser Lori Parrish and the head of the Realtors Association of Greater Fort Lauderdale said the proposal will provide a boost to an otherwise stagnant real estate market.

"We are hurting in the Broward economy and in the Florida economy, and we need tax relief," said Richard Barkett of the Realtors Association.

Crist's event was held at the home of Teresa and Anselmo Bonilla, who bought their home on the 6400 block of Coolidge Street in 2004 but would like to downsize to save money.

Anselmo Bonilla said the family can't afford to move because buying another home would raise their property taxes.

Most of the legislation is directed at homeowners even though there is a cut proposed in the tax on business equipment and a cap of 10 percent on how much the tax value of commercial and non-homesteaded residential property can increase each year.

Scott Wyman can be reached at swyman@sun-sentinel.com or 954-356-4511.
Copyright © 2008, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Broward County: Town Hall forums to focus on proposed tax changes
January 6, 2008

The Broward League of Cities will host two Town Hall forums this week on the proposed property tax amendment on the Jan. 29 ballot.

The first will be at 7 p.m. Monday at Hallandale High School, 720 NW Ninth Ave.

The second is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Coral Springs Center for the Arts, 2855 Coral Springs Drive.

The meetings are intended to provide voters with information on the ballot measure, how property taxes are calculated, and how the measure will impact homeowners if it passes.

Among local officials who will be attending are Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Parrish; Interim County Administrator Bertha Henry and Schools Superintendent Jim Notter. For information, call 954-357-7370.
Copyright © 2008, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

One Tree Hill's Hilarie Burton at Aventura Macy's Jan, 19th

Dear City of Aventura Police Dept:

Please begin making preparations for Saturday's traffic jam on U.S.-1 -now!

But seriously.... with Hilarie Burton AND a CW casting call for the entire state of Florida scheduled for the Aventura Macy's on Saturday afternoon, I can only imagine what kind of zoo scene that's going to be. Lots of star gazers and star wannabes.

But is it a scene worthy of some blogging on pop culture?

Why yes, he said knowing there were no IU basketball games or NFL playoff games scheduled that afternoon that would cause him to miss the likely hijinks and hysteria.

Meanwhile... if you don't know who I'm talking about, see http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1122026/ and

'Nuff said!

Ultimate Fan Weekend contest details at: http://www.cwtv.com/thecw/macys

Macy's Aventura Womens & Kids
19535 Biscayne Blvd. Aventura, FL 33180

Macy's press release about One Tree Hill casting call: http://www1.macys.com/store/event/index.ognc?action=locatorDetail&storeId=305&eventId=4884

excerpted from
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
By Tom Jicha

January 10, 2008

Macy's at Aventura will become Peyton's place on Jan. 19.

Hilarie Burton, who plays Peyton Sawyer on One Tree Hill, will be signing autographs from 2-4 p.m. at the deparment store.

Burton's appearance is part of the promotion for the CW series' Ultimate Fan Weekend.

Eight fans nationwide will win a trip to North Carolina, where the show films, get a chance to visit the set, meet the cast and walk through a scene.

Not that it's either here or there, but for what it's worth, at the carefully-guarded bunker that is the HQ of South Beach Hoosier/Hallandale Beach Blog, One Tree Hill star Sophia Bush, a former USC Kappa Kappa Gamma -also a Kappa? Ashley Judd at U.K.- is deemed one of the dozen most beautiful women in the whole country.

She doesn't make us weak in our knees, she knocks us over like a bowling pin.
If Sophia Bush is ever somewhere publicly within the area code, South Beach Hoosier will be there to take photos!

She reminds us of every every dark-haired IU coed whom we were ever attracted to or smitten by, who was, conveniently, a friend of a friend at Chi Omega or Tri-Delt or Delta Gamma or..., but who'd had the very same boyfriend since high school and all throughout her time at IU.
We hated that!

Come for the Land Speculation, Stay for the Red Tape!

My comments follow the story.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Hallandale Beach revisiting its master plan for development
Master plan update includes citizen remarks on traffic, affordable housing

By Jennifer Gollan
January 6, 2008

Hallandale Beach
Deluged by proposals for flashy high-rises and gambling hubs, the city last year called a time out to do some urban planning.

A moratorium on new development has been in place since August. The city has hired a consultant to overhaul its 30-year-old master plan, to outline what should be built over the coming decades, and how.

As part of the planning process, more than 60 residents registered their concerns Saturday about everything from the surfeit of traffic to the dearth of affordable housing during a two-hour meeting at the Hallandale Beach Cultural Community Center.

It was the second of four public meetings intended to gather residents' input before the City Commission votes on the plan in February.

The redrafting of the city's plan is driven by an explosion in planned or possible development, including at Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino and Mardi Gras Racetrack and Gaming Center.

There has been a related flurry of proposals for condo towers and mixed-use projects to replace the barren parking lots, tired storefronts and dilapidated homes that overtook much of the city beginning in the 1970s.

"Now development is coming at us like a 180-mph bullet train," said Hallandale Beach Commissioner Keith London.

Indeed, more than 1 million square feet of new development — proposed before the moratorium took effect — is pending or already under way, said Richard Cannone, the city's director of development services.

"The catalyst for the master plan was the development of the casinos, which led us to make sure we are developing in an organized way," Cannone said.

The plan outlined Saturday envisioned six mini-downtowns with shops, restaurants and housing.

The goal is to create a pedestrian-friendly city with lush parks and a unique identity, said Donald Shockey, project manager for EDAW Inc., a design firm with offices in Miami Beach that is overhauling the city's plan for a $250,000 fee.

"Because of the economy, we want to make sure we have economically feasible redevelopment well into the future," said Mayor Joy Cooper.

To that end, Joe DeFalco, 78, asked city leaders Saturday how Hallandale Beach could afford the ambitious vision given in the master plan.

"Where are you going to get the money to do all of this?" asked DeFalco, who is president of Tower Mobile Home Park.

"It's not going to be a boondoggle program," said Shockey, "it's going to be done in a phased, measured way."

Jennifer Gollan can be reached at jgollan@sun-sentinel.com or 954-385-7920.
Copyright © 2008, South Florida Sun-Sentinel


South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Hallandale Beach: Master plan concepts to be presented at public forum
January 2, 2008

A public forum on the citywide master plan is set for 10 a.m. Saturday at the Cultural Community Center, 410 SE Third St.

Initial master plan concepts will be presented and comments from the public received. Residents, businesses and other interested parties are encouraged to attend.
Call 954-457-1381.

Copyright © 2008, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Come for the Land Speculation, Stay for the Red Tape!

On the chance that you didn't see the actual print edition of this last Sunday, it had a very different sort of headline: "Hallandale prepares for building blitz"

Wish the Sun-Sentinel reporter had been at the first public unveiling last month, the day after Christmas, when there were more citizens in attendance.

I'll be posting my comments soon on the Hallandale Beach Master Plan itself, which I picked up a printed copy of recently and have been reading in dribs and drabs to refresh my thoughts on the meeting I attended on December 26th.

HB Masterplan Workshop 5503 KB, Last Uploaded: 12/26/2007

I should say here, though, that while I might disagree with some aspects of it, given the reality of the demographics and personalities here, the presentation itself by Donald Shockey was very impressive in its overall scope, as was his ease with dispensing pertinent facts.

Equally importantly to me was EDAW's true understanding of the myriad underlying problems of the city, and their realization that there's no magic bullet.

Also, contrary to the impression that may've been created by the reporter here, and very much for the better, EDAW, Inc. is an international firm whose closest office is located on Miami Beach, NOT a local firm in Miami Beach with no sense of what's going on outside of South Florida.

I spent quite some time prior to the first public forum looking at their website, then did a Google search to see the sort of plans the firm has produced for past clients, and what the public reaction in those cities were, and suggest you do the same.

(They also did the downtown Master Plan for Boynton Beach
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/palmbeach/sfl-flpschool0107pnjan07,0,5528328.story )

Barbara Faga, EDAW's executive vice president, works out of the Atlanta and Miami Beach offices, and started a blog after writing a book on the intersection of design, development and public policy, http://barbarafaga.com/book/buy.aspx which is quite interesting called designing public consensus.

She even writes about the problems in her own neighborhood in Atlanta associated with unelected neighborhood association officials in a very illuminating fashion.
See http://www.edaw.com/whoWeAre/principals/principal.aspx?key=8931
and http://www.designingpublicconsensus.com/blog/

Referenced blog post re Atlanta is at:

For what it's worth, Design Intelligence named her "one of the top 15 women who are changing the world of architecture."

IF only we could put Ms. Faga in charge of building and implementing a new Marlins ballpark near Chez Huizenga and the Metro that'll be operating near there in 2012.
A beautiful and uniquely Miami stadium, funded largely by a new consortium of far-sighted Marlin owners with a love for architecture, design and South Florida, instead of the current Loria & Co. brain trust, which seems fixated on paying for as much of it as possible with the public's wallet. In what could only be called one of THE worst possible locations, far from its fans.
She could be a Janet Marie Smith for South Florida's baseball fans!

See Ballpark: Camden Yards and the Building of an American Dream by Peter Richmond
See http://www.amazon.com/Ballpark-Camden-Yards-Building-American/dp/0684800489

Here are some links to some local South Florida projects that EDAW is involved with.
They might help you come to some conclusions on thoughts of your own about what, if anything, is missing from the current plans for Hallandale Beach that EDAW submitted to the city, and what needs to be considered or modified.

EDAW Miami Beach office: http://www.edaw.com/whoWeAre/offices/office.aspx?id=66456

Flamingo/Lummus Neighborhood Urban Design and Streetscape Improvements
(for The Related Group)

One Miami Riverwalk (for The Related Group)

Oceanfront Neighborhood Urban Design and Streetscapes (for City of Miami Beach)

Biscayne National Park Ethnographic Overview and Assessment (for NPS)

St. Joe West (for St. Joe Land Company)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Jan. 14th Broward Legislative Delegation Public Meeting in Hollywood - be sure to ask about their "beauty contest" that will backfire on them

State Senator Steven Geller, the Broward County Legislative Delegation, along with State Representatives Joseph Gibbons, Evan Jenne and Elaine Schwartz will hold a joint Town Hall meeting with their constituents.
That's y-o-u.

Bring your wit and wisdom, loaded or rhetorical questions, and any post-holiday venomous feelings you've got left over.

Perhaps you can even get some face time on local Miami TV news that night by asking, early on in the proceedings, why they allowed their visceral hatred for touch-screen voting booths to be tied into a clunker of a bill moving the Democratic & GOP Presidential Primaries to January 29th. 
That would be a nice start.

The primary where your Democratic vote is pure "beauty contest," with zero practical effect on delegate status.

I'll be posting some interesting talking points and prospective questions here as the meeting draws close, and they will be the that'll leave little wiggle room for evading.
My favorite kind!

Where: City Of Hollywood Commission Chamber, Room 219,
Date: Monday, January 14, 2008
Time: 7:00 PM To 9:00 P.M.

#HollywoodFL based photographer/entrepreneur Esther Chuang

#HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy
Thumbs up! What a night! #HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with a very elated Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy at his Victory Party, held at Leo Anato's Atelier3/AT3 on Harrison Street & S. 19th Avenue, Hollywood. AT3's great environment and the amazing variety of food prepared by chef Kevin Dreifuss, former owner/chef of now-closed ENDS MEAT restaurant, was SUPERB! November 8, 2016 Esther Chuang, Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2015
Above, perhaps my most-favorite photo ever of Esther, which is really saying something considering the THOUSANDS that I've actually seen of her, from all over the world. But despite the fact that you can't actually see it here, trust me, her amazing smile and inner and external beauty are there. This photo is an even more amazing achievement when you know the backstory of what it took for Esther to get to the top of the mountain, since it's NOT for the faint of heart. Next time you see her, ask her about that! Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on her birthday, July 10, 2015. That's the Christ The Redeemer statue way out in the horizon on the top of another mountain, to the left of her head. To the right is the world famous beach of Ipanema and to the left is the equally famous beach of Copacabana. �� In case you forgot what the Christ the Redeemer statue looks like, up close, here's yet another Brazilian beauty to connect-the-dots for you: Gisele Bündchen, aka @Gisele.

Abençoado por Deus e bonito por natureza!✨ ������

A post shared by Gisele Bündchen (@gisele) on

View of Rio De Janeiro from my room.

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